AN A-list gathering, including Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, politicians and the community gathered at the Yeshiva Centre on Wednesday morning for the announcement that Yeshiva College Bondi has been officially registered as a school by the NSW Board of Studies (BOS).
The school – which was officially accredited only hours before the formal gathering – will open in 2008 and will be the first school in Australia to teach Torah education.
Local minister for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull, Labor candidate for Wentworth George Newhouse, Federal shadow treasurer Wayne Swan and Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger joined more than 100 children and community leaders, at the gathering.
Rabbi Metzger, who changed his itinerary to visit Sydney for the occasion, said it was a momentous occasion for Australia’s Jewish community. “I just arrived one hour ago from the airport, all because one road has been paved,” Rabbi Metzger said.
“I came to say thank you to the government for seeing that Jewish education is here in Sydney, and where learning is not only about faith – of believing in God – but about educating the pupils to know everything.”
Turnbull said the new school “is a unique concept recognising the value in a Torah education and the wisdom of the Talmud”.
“The Yeshiva College will spread the inspirational teachings of the Rebbe and strengthen Yiddishkeit in Sydney. It is an inspiring example of the paramount importance placed on education by Jews.”
Newhouse echoed the thoughts of Turnbull. He said he was excited that there would be another Jewish school in Waverley, where he was formally mayor.
“I have had a great interaction with a number of Jewish schools in the area, all of them are inspiring, and they provide continuing Jewish education and the connection to our future. Nothing is more important for the survival of our people,” he said.
Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman, who has been the driving force to have the school registered with the BOS, told The AJN it was fitting that the final signature came from BOS the day before the yahrzeit of her father, Rabbi Chaim Gutnick, who began Yeshiva in Sydney more than 50 years ago.
“I feel that in the heavens, my father is blessing us and his prayers and pioneering endeavours are being rewarded. As the original founder of the Yeshiva, this would have been his dream. In most schools, Judaism and Torah is part of the curriculum. With us at Yeshiva College, it is the core of the curriculum,” Rebbetzin Feldman said.